The existential angst of being 16-bits.
A lot of us grew up on classic NES games like Super Mario Brothers and its various spinoffs, and those of us who did have a score of shared experiences based on this game, among them what I’m calling “the impossible jump.” You know what I’m talking about, it’s that super-wide chasm in the middle of a level that you can’t quite figure the trick to; you keep running, and jumping, but you never make it to the other side, you just keep plummeting to your virtual death and starting again over and over like some kind of Sartre-esque nightmare. There’s always a solution of course, but hell if you can find it.
As frustrating as this is for those of us controlling the action, imagine, if you can, what it must be like for our 16-bit avatar, that pixelated stand-in who has no control over his recurring death. These are just a few of the strange thoughts that popped into my head while watching Jumpy, a short film from Anthony Falleroni, a self-taught animator and old-school video game freak who combined his two loves into the existential adventure shown below, concerning our titular characters repeated attempt to advance to the next board. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the film, but three-and-a-half minutes later when it was over I was pleasantly surprised at how emotionally complex and highly-enjoyable Falleroni’s effort is, not to mention dripping with nostalgia.
Also, I’d play the hell out of Jumpy if it was a real game. There’s just something about that contemplative fuchsia bunny and his endless striving for advancement that I, and I suspect you, can relate to. Jumpy is us; we are Jumpy.
Ready, player one?